Madrid, 8 May 2020- Access Info today presented two information requests to the Spanish government about the management of the Covid-19 pandemic. In the first request, Access Info asked for the names and professional profiles of the members of the Technical Team that is advising the government on the region-by-region winding down of Spain’s very tight lockdown.
In a second request, Access Info has asked for access to all the minutes of meetings and reports from the Scientific Committee that has been advising the government on managing the pandemic since March 2020.
The government yesterday refused to provide these names to journalists, arguing they might be subject to public pressure. Access Info believes that this information should be public, given the importance of the expertise that is being provided. In the case of the winding down of the lockdown, the consequences are life and death. Furthermore, Spain’s Law on Public Health requires the publication of the composition of committees that evaluate actions or make recommendations in the sphere of public health.
“It is clear that there is an overriding public interest in this information, which should not be withheld based on any exceptions in the Transparency Law,” said Helen Darbishire, Executive Director of Access Info.
The Spanish Transparency Law provides for the publication of people’s names when these names are linked to the organisation, functioning or activities of public bodies. That provision applies even when the people are not directly employed by a public body.
“We are aware that the timeframes for responding to access to information requests are currently suspended in Spain, but we urge the government to provide this information to us. We also wanted to go on the record with this request and to indicate that we aim to make this information public sooner or later,” added Darbishire.
For these reasons, and in spite of the requests submitted, Access Info calls on the government to publish this information proactively as soon as possible. The moment for the public to be informed about the management of the pandemic is right now.
For more information, please contact:
Paula Domínguez, Communications Officer | Access Info Europe
paula[at]access-info.org +34 637 226 609
Helen Darbishire, Executive Director | Access Info Europe
helen[at]access-info.org +34 637 226 609